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World's Largest ERP and CRM Implementation Shows Success


The first performance measurement metrics are out for the world's largest ERP and CRM software implementation and the results are surprisingly positive. Following four years of detailed planning followed by two years of limited conference room pilots, the U.S. Navy began their full scale organizational wide ERP system implementation in 2004.

According to Susan Keen, technical director of Navy ERP, “About 11 years ago, we had some visionaries in the Navy who wanted to examine if ERP would be beneficial to use in our government agency”. The Navy wanted to advance from several loosely integrated, custom-built ERP systems to a central commercial software application which would integrate the decision-making processes and business activities in areas such as procurement, logistics and accounting.

According to Valerie Carpenter, the Navy ERP’s program manager, “The Navy needs to modernize and standardize business operations to meet financial compliance law, increase efficiency and improve asset visibility. If we can keep the strategic goals in mind, we can handle the day-to-day challenges just fine.”

The Navy's ERP software deployment is the largest SAP public-sector deployment in the world. The Navy ERP application currently integrates with the Marine Corps Intranet for network and security functions as well as 12 Navy applications and 18 Department of Defense systems. The ERP system scope includes finance and accounting, human resources, supply chain management, procurement and maintenance management across the Navy’s maritime, aviation, nuclear, sustainment and supply business functions. The duration of the entire project spans from 2004 through 2013 at a planned budget of $1.4 billion.

During the implementation planning phase, project team members performed more than 265 business blueprint workshops, designed more than 1,500 SAP product transaction workflow scenarios and designed more than 200 custom reports, system interfaces, data conversions and software enhancements to the standard SAP ERP system. The project team exercised more than 21,000 test scripts, managed more than 1,500 configuration change requests, electronically converted 52.7 million objects and loaded approximately 13.5 million data objects with a 99.99965 percent success rate.

All ERP implementation projects face technical and cultural obstacles and a project of this magnitude was no exception. Two primary challenges included the all too common change management and data migration areas. To proactively address the anticipated user adoption challenges, Navy project team members created 14 Web-based tutorials and 65 instructor-led courses to train users in all aspects of the new ERP system operation. Project team members also secured active executive sponsorship as well as early and broad involvement across several Navy enterprises. Challenges in data-migration were primarily due to the high number of systems and the volume of data to be converted. Anticipating this area could represent an early setback if not proactively addressed, Navy team members performed early data analysis to gauge data quality, performed multiple data cleansing projects prior to the scheduled data conversion and allotted some extra time to resolve other anticipated data quality issues. According to Carpenter. “The earlier you start working these top issues, the easier it is to adopt the new system and new business processes.” The planning paid off and the data conversion met the slated schedule.

The ERP implementation project did incur one additional significant change midstream. The original ERP project management was performed by BearingPoint and IBM, however, in 2006, Navy officials chose to bring program management in-house while still using the contractors in more limited roles. In addition to gaining project management leadership and accountability, the change enabled the Navy to leverage new work breakdown structures, integrated master schedules and earned value management (EVM) systems. The Navy ERP project management office is primarily operated from Annapolis with 55 government staff and as many as 500 contractors.

ERP software release 1 has completed its initial post implementation measurement process. While there are many lessons learned from the process, there is also cause for optimism going forward. Release 2.0 of Navy ERP, scheduled for February 2010, will incorporate the Navy’s supply chain management solution and manage the retail and wholesale functions of the wide-ranging supply system. Release 3.0 will include an information system for managing intermediate-level maintenance management requirements for ships, aircraft and weapons systems.

When fully implemented, the program will interface with more than 49 Navy information systems and 22 DOD applications. An additional 13 commands and 109,000 users will be added, bringing the total number of users to 185,000. By 2021, the Navy ERP application is expected to handle the service’s entire budget, replacing the Standard Accounting and Reporting System.

When complete, “The end result is a better equipped Navy that is better able to support the warfighter,” according to Carpenter.

Post Posted by: Jeffrey on 11.11.2008
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Sean Pinicke says:
November 25, 2008 at 9:35 pm

Wow, a public sector enterprise resource planning software project that didn't embarrass the government or disappoint the taxpayers. I only hope we see more of these ERP software project successes in the future.


Justin says:
November 14, 2008 at 12:23 pm

I originally thought you hyped the Navy on this one. However I read another article in CIO that reiterated similar findings and seemed to fairly present a solid case for a job well done. What's the ERP industry coming to when government sets the achievement bar :) | ERP Software Forum